If you are living with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), chances are you experience stiffness, fatigue, swelling and pain in your joints. RA is a chronic, systemic autoimmune condition, which means the body attacks itself, specifically the joints and connective tissues such as ligaments and cartilage.

Because RA is systemic, the condition can also negatively impact vital organs such as the heart and lungs which can be detrimental for anyone living with the disease. Moreover, exacerbations or flare-ups can also occur, resulting in a worsening of symptoms and more medication requirements.

Due to the swelling of joints and associated pain, daily physical activity can be challenging for many living with the disease. However, substantial benefits can be gained through physical activity, especially leg strengthening.

Incorporating regular physical activity into a weekly routine need not be a daunting task. Integrating low-impact activity into a regular daily routine can significantly impact one’s health physically and mentally in a positive way. Below is an abbreviated list of what one living with RA may come to expect by incorporating strength-resistance training into their care plan.

Six Benefits Of Physical Activity And Leg Strengthening

  • Strengthening activities, especially leg exercises, can aid in improving and maintaining joint flexibility.
  • Leg-strengthening exercises benefit more than the legs. These exercises also recruit and engage other major muscle groups, which support overall muscle strength.
  • Resistance training supports strengthening bones, which is imperative as we age and especially for someone living with RA.
  • Leg strengthening assists those with RA by ensuring mobility is maintained, and large muscle groups within the legs don’t overcompensate. Overcompensating of muscles often happens with conditions that cause muscular and joint pain, leading to more complications.
  • Physical activity such as strength training can also assist with losing weight and maintaining a healthy weight, which helps relieve pressure on joints, including the hips and knees.
  • Strength-training exercise reduces painful symptoms, improves joint function, increases range of motion and boosts mood.

If you have been diagnosed with RA and want to improve your overall health by incorporating physical activity, work with a physical therapist who specializes in RA and in developing safe and appropriate exercise routines.

When done correctly, exercise has proven to be very helpful for people living with RA. Properly structured, strength-resistance exercise programs progress slowly, and the individual is closely monitored for signs of inflammation. Appropriate exercise will reduce RA flares, the need for additional medications, and have the symptoms of this condition easier to manage.

Private-Pay Physical Therapy Service

The licensed physical therapy staff at Tandem Strength & Balance, with 20+ years of experience, is knowledgeable and skilled in assessing the bone and joint health of individuals living with chronic illness, such as RA. Following the assessment, a personalized, strength-resistance exercise program will be created to offer you, or your loved one, the following benefits: pain relief, reduced joint stiffness, improved joint function and increased range of motion, all leading to a better quality of life. You will have a skilled physical therapist working out with you in the comfort of your home, to encourage and challenge you, while monitoring and supporting you to live a healthier and more active, fulfilling life. Call today to schedule your free, in-home consultation, (952) 746-3222.

We help individuals, every day, to Get Strong. Stay Strong. Regardless of Age or Diagnosis.


Everyone starts to lose strength within 3-5 days after strength training has stopped. So many older adults can not afford to lose any strength because they are just getting by.


As physical therapists, we continue to challenge all of our clients in a way that caregivers and families can’t. We address the root cause of their mobility issues and help older adults build strength so they can enjoy their independence and keep living costs lower.

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